Searchable Etexts Help Kids Search and Attribute Quotes

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In my literature classes, I found that one of the biggest challenges for students when they sit down to write a paper is finding good quotes from the text. A great solution is to put the full text of a novel on your website (or at least link to one). Students can then use their browser’s “Find Word” function (Ctrl+F on Win or Cmd+F on Mac) to search for main Keywords.

You can see above that I searched the text of Crime and Punishment for “agony” and can then find every instance in the book where that word appears. I find this really helps kids review main themes and find the most relevant quote easily.

You can find most classics at,, or by googling “full text” and the name of your novel.

Another way is to put a passage from the book in quotes in your google search, such as “My watch was still
unwound, and I am rigorously accustomed to wind it the last
thing before going to bed, and many such details.”
(remember: the quotes make it so that you find this exact phrase). The likelihood that these words appear together outside of the desired text is nearly nil.

By making the full text available, you can move from students who slavishly insert the first quote they see– because they lack the stamina to search through page after page of quotes– towards students who are making critical decisions about a few easy-to-find choices.

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Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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1 Response

  1. May 7, 2008

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